Nancy Nelson Garrett

Nancy Nelson Garrett

Nancy Nelson Garrett

Independent incumbent for Williamson County School Board, District 12

Occupation: Senior knowledge leader for a global professional services firm

Education: Bachelors of Business Administration from Belmont University

Family: Husband, Mike, and son, Quinn

Community/civic affiliations (church, nonprofits, etc.): I’ve lived in Franklin since I was 9 years old. As a young person, I participated in various volunteer activities with my church, Grassland Heights Baptist, and as a student council leader at Franklin High School.

I’ve been an active public education volunteer my entire adult life. As a young adult, I was a founder of Hands on Nashville and led HON’s partnership with area public schools.

After I became a mom, I served in PTO leadership roles during my son’s entire school career in FSSD and WCS schools. One highlight of my FSSD volunteerism was creating a summer reading program, volunteer network and accompanying libraries for the children attending the district’s summer MAC program and for children attending the Boys and Girls Clubs summer program. As a WCS parent volunteer, I served as assistant treasurer, treasurer, vice president and president of the Centennial High School PTO.

I have also served in other nonprofit volunteer capacities in our community, including the following: chair of the First United Methodist Church (Franklin) Missions and Outreach Committee and Sunday school teacher; Book ‘Em (literacy organization) board of directors; Belmont University Alumni Association class representative and vice president of communications; and founding board vice president of Hands on Nashville.

Have you ever held public office? I was appointed to the school board in November of 2016 by a vote of the county commission and elected in 2018.

Why did you decide to run for this office?

Simply put, I am passionate about quality public education for all Williamson County students. I’m also enthusiastic about and supportive of our WCS professionals and the amazing work they do with our students, day in and day out. A WCS education has been a game changer for many in my family; I want others to have the same opportunity.

What do you believe are the top three issues that need to be addressed in WCS?

1. Recruit and retain top talent for WCS

With the nationwide shortage of teachers and other education professionals, WCS needs to focus on attracting qualified professionals and retaining them for the long term. Competitive compensation is a crucial factor, as are work environment, culture and job satisfaction, and being heard. I will continue my work advocating for WCS professionals and continue to ask WCS leadership to look for opportunities to reduce or eliminate non-mission-critical tasks for our team members. My vision for this work is the establishment of a task force that would come together to address recruiting and retention issues and develop comprehensive recommendations for the district to act on. 

2. Understand and address the impact of new state education funding model on Williamson County

As our state rolls out a new funding model for public schools (TISA), we need knowledgeable board members to help ensure that the funding model addresses the unique needs of our successful district while keeping in mind our fiscal responsibility to taxpayers. I will continue to provide my subject matter expertise on budgeting matters, as well continue to look for “out of the box” and lower cost/higher value solutions for budget gaps. Our K-12 social studies curriculum is a good example of this type of solution. Having our own teachers develop our curriculum, instead of purchasing a national one from a publisher, saved the district approximately $3 million.

3. Refresh the WCS sense of community

Parent engagement is a foundational element of WCS’s vision: WCS will provide a supportive environment where students are challenged to pursue excellence in academics, athletics and the arts. As a long-time (and current) WCS volunteer and a volunteer management expert, I will champion a districtwide refresh on volunteering and parent and community engagement. The refresh will include additional education about volunteering, greater emphasis on how to volunteer, additional support for PTOs and a review of volunteer opportunities to identify additional ways for volunteers to assist our professionals. This effort can’t be accomplished without the leadership of and input from our excellent PTOs, principals and district safety staff.

Additionally, WCS’s current strategic plan is near completion, and it’s time to plan for the next five to seven years. Our community needs a shared and refreshed mission, vision and goals for our district, especially after the past two years when communication and connection have been more challenging. I’ll advocate for significant community input in the planning process (like those in the past) and work to promote identification of highest-priority items and timelines to address these important priorities.

Why are you the best candidate to serve on the school board?

My reasonable, collaborative, knowledgeable and temperate approach is an asset to the work of the board, especially in challenging times. I strive to lead by example and am a proven, courageous, hard-working leader who has been committed to the work of WCS for decades, and in many capacities. I understand the true work of the board: policy development, strategic planning and budget development. The board is not a place to trumpet my own agenda or grandstand. Finally, I understand the complexity of the decision-making that is required to put students first — all students — while balancing multiple priorities and challenges to do so.

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